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Travel Accommodation: Hotels Moving Toward Environmental Sustainability

Being green creates greater profitability and a higher long-term value of your property. Good practices help to bring guests back for a return visit (and recommend it to their friends and colleagues). Being green also helps retain staff by showing that management cares for their health and well-being.

Financial Impacts

Energy-saving measures, including energy management systems, compact fluorescent bulbs, using ceiling fans, motion sensors for public rest rooms, meeting rooms, exercise rooms, etc., reduce your energy costs.

Water-saving measures & techniques include low-flow showerheads, aerators in taps, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, serving water on request only in restaurants, and washing towels and linens only at guest request (and of course, on check-out) can reduce water bills. When towel rack hangers and sheet changing cards gently remind guests to consider using their linens more than once, about 70% of guests participate and can reduce utilities use by 5%.

Waste reduction measures include recycling and avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and can be asked to deliver products one day, and pick up the delivery/packaging materials the next day. A recycling program to separate waste can not only reduce the size of the hotel's waste stream, but can also recover hotel property (towels, linens, cutlery, etc) that is inadvertently included in the trash.
Coastline of Costa Rica, wehre sustainable tourism is a national objective

Staffing Benefits

Being "green" means guests, staff and management are healthier. Using eco-friendly cleaning products instead of toxic, poisonous chemicals creates a safer work environment. The financial savings mean the economic success of the property (especially compared to less progressive accommodation in the competitive area) provides an economically sustainable work environment.

Next Steps

Many major chains are already Green. Others can join the "Green" Hotels Association, who's purpose is to bring together hotels interested in environmental issues. Members receive a comprehensive 148 page Guidelines and Ideas which to help reduce both costs and the hotel's impact on the environment. Hotels can join for about $100 + $1 per guestroom.

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